My work in contributing to public debate on culture and society is inevitably seen as political in nature. However, I belong to no political party and maintain a strongly independent and critical stance concerning the current British political system. The schools of thought with which I am most frequently identified are radical traditionalism, traditionalist conservatism and paleolibertarianism. I am a passionate defender of Western civilization and of the Western Christian tradition, and notwithstanding a very wide international outlook both personally and professionally, a lover of my native Britain and its people. I oppose globalisation and corporatocracy, and for many years have argued against British membership of the European Union.
I trace the most important aspects of my intellectual development regarding cultural and political awareness to my short but formative period of postgraduate research at Cambridge. It was at this time that I first encountered the ideology of the Cultural Marxist Left in depth, and in a hegemonic manner. In my strong reaction against these ideas, I was forced to think carefully about what I believed and why. I emerged from the experience as a committed traditional conservative critic of the post-1945 intellectual consensus and an open opponent of postmodernism and moral relativism.
These conclusions, combined with the narrow specialism, bureaucracy and political correctness prevalent in much of contemporary academia, compelled me to acknowledge my essential polymathy and reactionary, Romanticist outlook, and consequently to pursue a high degree of autonomy in my academic work and my professional life generally. I was particularly influenced by the cultural writings of Sir Roger Scruton, who has discussed his experiences as a dissident conservative academic within the British university system, and who has said that there is “no such career in England as that of an intellectual Conservative”. I determined that rather than becoming another unhappy dissident, I would seek an alternative: to support and create traditionalist institutions outside the system, and often internationally, that offered the prospect both of freedom and of disruptive innovation, and to work towards the creation of a counter-establishment.
That counter-establishment includes support for secessionism and for new country projects. In respect of the latter, I am actively involved in Royal Belarus, a monarchist and traditionalist movement that began among Belarusian nationalists in exile during the Soviet years. New country projects seek to establish sovereign territory (which could potentially be anywhere in the world) as a basis for building a society according to a particular political, ethnic or ideological set of aims.
As a radical traditionalist, I believe in the small-scale organization of human society through neo-feudalism and in the dominant influence of landscape, indigenous cultures and natural hierarchies. Two key essays summarize my ideas. In “Preserving the substance of a nation: the role of a traditional conservative counter-establishment” (from a speech given to the Traditional Britain Group Conference in 2013) I explore the need for traditionalists to build their own institutions that enshrine their culture and beliefs. In my 2014 essay “Can aristocracy and its feudal roots offer a prospect and model for secessionist solutions to the present crisis in Britain?” I advance a neo-feudalist view of the future.
I have often argued in favour of high culture and believe that the disappearance of high culture from our public discourse and everyday life is a tragedy with disturbing consequences. This is not to imply that I do not enjoy or take an interest in low culture, but that I regard the difference between high and low culture as significant and do not wish to see the low vaunted at the expense of the high.
I also take an academic interest in British political thought of the Right during the 1930s, and in particular the work of the English Mistery and the English Array under the 9th Earl of Portsmouth and others. These traditional conservative movements emphasised monarchism and feudalism, and advocated ruralist ideas that prefigured several modern environmental concerns, some of which were further developed by the Kinship in Husbandry under Rolf Gardiner. I am also interested in the political ideas of Sir Oswald Mosley, the central themes of which remain of pressing relevance today. Of more recent thinkers on politics and related wider Traditionalist concerns, those who have had a particular influence on me include the late Sir Roger Scruton and John Michell.
I am a Vice-President of the Traditional Britain Group, and have given talks to the TBG on a number of occasions, most recently at its Annual Conference in 2021.
For several years I was a council member and Director of Cultural Affairs of the former Libertarian Alliance, until its dissolution in June 2017. I continue to identify with many aspects of paleolibertarianism. However, the following quotation summarizes where I stand today regarding libertarianism in more general terms:
“I was very much an ardent libertarian, free-market doctrinaire. But gradually I came to realize that those around me with similar views were very much unlike me personally. They were plebean populists. No appreciation for elitism, social hierarchy, and culture and tradition. They wanted to elevate the lowest among us through the medium of unregulated markets. I began to abhor this philosophy and no longer associate myself with it. I have come to appreciate that I am an elitist, through and through.”
The link in the paragraph above is to Sir Roger Scruton’s address “In Defense of Elitism”, the most significant passage of which is the following,
“A culture that is based in knowledge and in the distinction between real knowledge and mere opinion…[is] there because it’s been bequeathed to us by people who made sacrifices in order that it should occur. And we I think should learn to honour those sacrifices and to do our part in passing on these institutions and traditions in our turn. That doesn’t mean that we have to accept everything about them. We have to, on the contrary, make our own living contributions to them. And they have to be amended in lots of ways. But I think, above all, we have to keep alive the collective memory of what we are as a people. That doesn’t reduce to merely what the majority of people presently happen to want.”